Rob Caggiano visited us in Paris for Volbeat’s new record, “Seal The Deal & Let’s Boogie”!
Hello Rob, how are you?
Rob Caggiano (guitar): I’m good. A little bit jetlagged but I’m good.
Your new album is coming in a few days, confident?
Rob: Yeah we’re really excited about, we can’t wait! We’re really proud of it and we can’t wait to get back on the road and play these songs to the fans.
In which mood/state of mind was the band working on this record? The dynamic is softer than previous works, what did influence that?
Rob: I don’t know, I don’t think we really had a preconceived idea of doing that. That’s how it came out. There was no real formula, no real anything. We just tried to put out the best songs together that we could at the time. Having said that I think there’s still some cool heavy stuff on this record and also some melodic stuff. There’s something for everybody, it’s a really varied album.
There’re two guests on the record. Johan Olsen, who already worked with Volbeat, but also Danko Jones on “Black Rose”. Why Danko for this song?
Rob: Danko is a good friend of ours, we’ve known him for ever. We love what he does and we’re big fans. We were working on that song “Black Rose”, putting out ideas for that and just the verse on that song was just screaming Danko Jones voice. We talked about it, pictured it and he totally nailed it.
And what about getting Johan Olsen once again?
Rob: He sang on a song called “The Garden’s Tale” back in the days and it was really great song for Volbeat. A long time has passed and the concept was to recreate that kind of magic a little bit and more importantly his voice totally fits that song, that melody and chorus.
There’s a bit of oriental influence on “The Gates Of Babylon”, where did this come from?
Rob: Lyrically it’s about Babylon and basically if you follow the lyrics in the song it spells it out. Yeah that intro with that guitar line is something Michael came out with and brought it to the rehearsal room and we just kind of built the song from that.
Are you tempted to play more exotic stuff like this lick for example?
Rob: Oh I’d love. There’s a band called Melechesh and I’ve been a huge fan of this band, and they kind of combine different elements like that in their sound as well. I’ve always been a fan of that kind of thing. I’m a huge Marty Friedman fan as well and he always was incorporating weird tonalities and interesting scales.
We can also hear a cover “Battleship Chains” from The Woods, made famous by The Georgia Satellites. Same question why this song?
Rob: That was like a last minute decision. It’s a song we were talking about and we listened to it a few times and it’s such a catchy song and really simple, it’s like two chords for the whole song (laughs) which is crazy. That came out really really good it’s that simple.
We found out that “Marie Laveau” is an historical character. She’s famous for her life but also for her voodoo skills. What did fascinate you to write something about her?
Rob: Personally I’ve always been fascinated by things like that. Voodoo, the cult, black magic and all that, but not that I do any of this stuff (laughs) but it’s really interesting to read about that. Marie Laveau was the voodoo queen in New Orleans. It’s an interesting topic and it makes cool tunes! (laughs)
You once again are producing this album. As a guitarist but also a producer how do you manage to consider those two aspects while working? Is it natural?
Rob: For me it’s one and the same. It’s something I’ve been doing for a while. I started back in the day with Boiler Room, my first band, then with Anthrax a few years later, The Damned Things record and now this is the second Volbeat. For me it’s just all making music. I’ve made a lot of records over the years as a producer and as an artist so I tend to look at music, when I’m working on a track or an album I always look at the big picture and how everything works together. Technically it is two different jobs but in my head, in my brain it’s all the same thing. It’s just all making music.
When did you have this desire over producing and making music?
Rob: I’ve always been fascinated by recording, equipment and recording studios. I’ve always felt there was something magical about it and there is, absolutely! When I was really young I got a Fostex recorder and me and my friends, way back in the day we recorded stupid songs and ideas, just having fun. It was very cool how you can just stack different ideas even if it was only four tracks at that time (laughs) it was very cool and it just expanded from there. When I was working in a music store, and getting older, sometimes I wouldn’t take my pay it was all about gear. I built a little studio at my parents’ place and then I got really into programming and keyboards. I also play keys, drums and whatever. I just love making music. Like as said it’s all about how it all comes together so I’m always thinking of things like that.
Warner earned more money by streaming than selling CD. Reaction?
Rob: There’s probably a good reason to that: there’s no record stores anymore. (laughs) You can’t find CD the way it used to be. In NY City for example, I don’t know where to go to buy CD, I’ve no idea! All the stores are closed down. Of course there’s been a huge resurgence in the vinyl world. Vinyl is definitely back in the big way which is cool. But as far as buying CD, records stores are few and far between right now. When Volbeat is on tour, we’re all music junkies and we love to go to record stores on our days off or even like on a show day.
Yes we saw you once at Hellfest coming back from the Extreme Market!
Rob: That’s one of the best things about the festival! I love it! They have so much cool shit out there. We’re music nerds, we love buying music and we can never buy enough. (laughs) But like I said, records stores like that are really becoming a rare thing so obviously everything is going towards streaming and I also stream. I’m a big fan of Tidal, Apple Music as well. The beauty of streaming for me is that it turns me on into so many new artists and new records that I never knew about, just the way those services are set up. It’s awesome to discover and so easy too and if it’s something that I really love I’m going to buy it. I’m really into the new Radiohead record right now.
What about The Damned Things? Is new stuff coming in the future?
Rob: I really hope so. We had a lot of fun doing it and I think it’s something we all want to do but it’s just a matter of schedules and where everybody at is. We’re all so busy but I just talked to Joe Trohman recently but also Scott and Keith Buckley. It’s definitely something we want to do.
How would you describe/sum up this record?
Rob: It’s a mixture of everything. There’s some melodic stuff probably more so than there has been in the past maybe but also some really awesome heavy stuff. I think there’s something for everyone.
What about the length? Volbeat albums are about 1 hour but many bands put out 40/45min records nowdays.
Rob: Every band is different. I think an hour long record is something that used to be very common so I don’t think that’s too much music. For me when it comes to a double album that where you’re pushing it a little bit but I think is fine. The good thing is that all the songs flow and the sequences are really cool, in that it’s interesting.
Did you ever consider a double album? Is it a wish making such a project?
Rob: It is a wish? No. (laugh) I mean I don’t know, we’ll see what happens. If we have down the road the idea.
You said you were listening to Radiohead, what else are you listening right now?
Rob: I really love this band called The Editors and especially this one song called “No Harm” and the video is awesome, the song is killer too. That guy named Nathaniel Rateliff, he’s amazing. It’s like classic American rock n’roll / motown stuff. He’s phenomenal. Great songs, great voice.
What about Monster Truck? You toured together in the US.
Rob: Oh yeah! Their new album is a great record too! They are awesome and this two week run was really really cool. Hopefully we’ll do more shows together.
Any plans after the summer festivals?
Rob: Oh yeah absolutely! You’re going to get sick of us. (laugh) We’ll be out there for a while, reaching a lot of markets and some we didn’t saw recently like South America, Australia and Asia. We’re really excited.
So we are “RockUrLife”, so what rocks your life Rob?
Rob: What rocks my life?
Rob: Ouh! (laughs) A lot of things rock my life. Wow. Rock n’roll rocks my life, a hot brunette rocks my life, a nice scotch whiskey rocks my life. (laughs) AC/DC rocks my life!
And what about AXL/DC?
Rob: That doesn’t really rock my life too much. (laughs) Nothing against Axl Rose, well he’s just not the singer of AC/DC. I don’t know what’s happening in that camp but who am I to comment? Of course I still love AC/DC and I think their new record is awesome too and I’ll always love Angus Young, he’s one of my guitar idols.
A risk in the future to see big bands replace a band member like rumours around Aerosmith for example without Steven Tyler.
R: I don’t know, there’s so many levels to that question and I don’t even have an answer but it all blows down to relationships. Being in a band is like marriage basically and sometimes it gets weird and things don’t work out. It’s just life and human nature, it’s inevitable.
If Aerosmith went out and tour without Steven Tyler all I can say is that I wouldn’t go to the show. To me it won’t be the Aerosmith that I know and love. When I think of AC/DC, I think of the line up that I know: Brian, Malcolm, Phil and Angus Young. It’s not that line up anymore but of course I still support them because they’ve been the soundtrack of my life. In my opinion they’re the best rock n’roll band of all time.
Website : volbeat.dk